by Jim Bates
English Breakfast tea
Honestly, I hadn’t be feeling all that good. I’d been tired and sleeping a lot lately but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because of the pandemic and all, and Mom and Dad would have freaked out if I had Covid (me, too, probably), so I kept my tiredness to myself. Plus, the holidays were coming, so…there was that.
But, after the holidays, I didn’t feel any better. I started getting the chills and had a runny nose. I was still tired and hiding it from Mom, but it was hard to hide my runny nose.
“Okay, young lady,” she told me on January first. “No more going outside for you.”
“No arguing. We can’t take any chances.”
So, I stayed in. Thank goodness for my iPad. I was able to Zoom with my friends Ella and Chloe and that helped. But I was just so tired!
Ella said, “You know, Madison, your really don’t look all that good.”
“Thanks, a lot!”
“No, really. You are good looking. Owen likes you.”
“Well, he does.”
“I’m shutting down.”
“No wait! I mean that you're good looking, but you still look…I don’t know. Kind of sick.”
I didn’t want to argue. “Look, I’m tired. I’ve got to go. I’ll call later
I really was tired. I shut down my tablet and slept for twelve hours.
“Honey, wake up. Wake up!”
It was Mom. “What?”
“Come on. We’re going to the doctor.”
“What? No way!”
“Yes, young lady. Way.” She gave me her no-nonsense look. “I mean it.”
Message received. I got dressed, wondering all the while why everything seemed so weird. The lights were fuzzy, sounds seemed to ring and when I looked in the mirror, my head seems too big. Plus, there was a funny taste in my mouth that didn’t go away even when I brushed my teeth. Maybe I did have Covid. Was I going to die?
I don’t know what came over me but I had a sudden urge, so I ran to Mom and hugged her. “Oh, Mom, I’m so sorry.”
“Oh, honey. Sorry for what?”
Yeah, really. What was I sorry for? Well, probably from Mom’s point of view lots of things, but I didn’t want to get into that right then.
I broke away from her and said, “Let’s go.” Covid or not, I was ready.
We drove to the clinic and they stuffed that enormous Q-tip swab thingy up my nose and dug around up there for about a minute (it seemed like) and that was it. They told Mom to take me home and keep me quarantined for fourteen days or until the test results came back. They drew some blood, too.
Normally, I’d have argued up a blue streak about staying in for two weeks, but I was so tired I slept most of the way home. I guess Dad came out and carried me in and put me to bed. I think I remember, but I was kind of out of it so don’t quote me.
Later, Mom said I slept for two days. I remember her waking me up and feeding me tomato soup with a big spoon. I normally much more prefer chicken nuggets, but I have to admit it tasted good. She also gave me ginger-ale to drink which I liked a lot.
She also gave me a pill with the ginger-ale. “Here, honey,” I remember her saying, “This will be good for you.” So, I took it. I think I took more of them later because I remember drinking a lot of ginger-ale.
After I few days, I began feeling better and could tell when it was night and when it was day. That was good. I still didn’t feel like Zooming with my friends, but at least I felt stronger. I still slept a lot. I knew Mom was in the room with me, too. That made me feel better.
By the third day, I woke up and I felt really good. Mom came into the room with some juice and a pill and said, “Well, good morning, sleepy head. Good to have you back with us.” She was making a joke, and I smiled. It was nice to see her.
“Good morning,” I said. I smelled my breath. It was pretty bad.
“How are you feeling?”
I stretched, a bit theatrically, I might add, and said, “I’m feeling pretty good. I might even be able to see my friends.”
“On the iPad.”
“Right. On the iPad.”
“Well see about that. First I want you to have this.” She handed me the pill and some juice.”
“What’s the pill for?” I popped it in my mouth and took a drink. The juice tasted really good, nice and refreshing in my mouth.
Mom smiled. “It an iron pill, sweety.”
“Iron?” I smacked my lips. “It doesn’t taste like iron.”
Mom reached over and hugged me. “No, it wouldn’t. It’s not like rust. It’s the kind of iron your body needs. That’s why you were so tired. You were anemic.”
“Yes. It’s when your body isn’t producing enough iron. That’s what was happening to you and why you were getting tired and worn out.
“Wow!” was all I could say. I had no idea.
“So, from now on you’ll take an iron pill a day and the doctor will monitor you. Well go in every twenty-six days to get a blood test.”
“So, I’m going to be all right?”
“Yes, dear. You’re going to be all right.”
“What about my Covid test?”
“We got the results. You’re safe.”
“No. Just a bit of a cold.”
“Whew!” I made it a point of wiping my hand across my forehead. Mom laughed. I did, too. It felt good.
She left the room and told me to rest, which I plan on doing. Now, if I can just get back to Zooming with my friends everything will be back to normal. In spite of the pandemic. That’d be awesome.
About the author
Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories and poems have appeared in nearly three hundred online and print publications. “Resilience,” a collection of short stories, was published in early 2021 by Bridge House Publishing. Additional stories can be found on his blog: www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com.